Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Expert group meeting of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran to review undergraduate medical curricula

September 2015, Tehran - The tripartite expert group meeting of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Islamic Republic of Iran, and Islamic Republic of Pakistan and, to review the under graduate medical curricula was held in Tehran under the auspices of Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries.  High-level experts on drug treatment, rehabilitation and medical curricula developer attended the meeting.  Dr Gilberto Gerra, Chief Health and Prevention Branch, UNODC, Vienna also participated.

The objectives of the meeting were to review existing medical curricula, discuss suggestions and agree on recommendations for improvement. 

International experts from three countries explained in detail existing undergraduate medical curricula in their respective countries.  These experts form USA, Greece and UNODC shared international best practices in curricula development and delivery.  

Dr. Gilberto Gerra highlighted the importance of curricula review in accordance with the changing drug use scenario. Dr. Parviz Afshar, Drug Demand Reduction Deputy at the DCHQ, Iran described the evolution of the medical curriculum to respond to the threat posed by drug use in Iran - which is currently listed in top 5 of issues in the country with regards to disease burden and related mortality. Dr. Hayatullah Jawad, Head of the Education Development Centre in Kabul Medical University, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, and Dr. Khalid Mufti, Chief Executive at Ibadat Hospital in Peshawar, Islamic Republic of Pakistan, delivered synopses of the current situation of drug demand in their respective countries, urging for closer regional cooperation on the training of medical professionals within the field of addiction sciences. Dr. Mufti also called for drawing best case practices from the Islamic Republic of Iran's Psychiatric Association (one of the biggest in South-East Asia) to strengthen the medical infrastructure in Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and Islamic Republic of Pakistan, for instance through sending local practitioners to Islamic Republic of Iran for training. Professor Richard Schottenfeld from Yale University School of Medicine described his own experiences in developing knowledge sharing spaces cutting across medical fields at Yale University, highlighting the importance of disseminating and accruing practical experience of addiction studies not only in psychiatry, but also in related fields. Ultimately, it was decided that there should be a concerted effort to review the medical curricula in the three countries. Recommendations on improving the curricula will be proposed at future multilateral follow-ups.

It was agreed during the meeting that undergraduate medical curricula has to be reviewed and updated according to the existing drug use situation in the countries.  It was also decided that a three-member expert group committee would review the existing undergraduate medical curricula and provide practical suggestions for its improvement. The committee will present its report in the next three months.


This meeting was supported by the generous contribution of the European Union.